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A Joyous Graduation Day

The Applewild School graduation ceremony on June 15, 2016 will be remembered not only as the first one for new Head of School, Christie Stover, but for the love and laughter shared by the members of that class throughout their Applewild journey.  The occasion was joyous and memorable as faculty, family, and friends cheered and cried (with joy!) as the seventeen graduates walked across the stage at the Alumni Center for the Performing Arts for the last time as Applewild students – they were joined by the music of the Graduation Band as it performed Pomp and Circumstance.

Seventeen 8th graders walked past family and friends to Pomp and Circumstance performed by the Graduation Band. After welcoming the audience (in both Chinese and English),  Applewild's sixth Head of School, Christie Stover honored the families “for their love, support, commitment, and belief in [your] future.” By the time the 8th Grade Vocalists finished Wherever I Go by Adam Watts there may not have been a dry eye in the house. As is Applewild's tradition at graduation, the class spoke about his or her time at Applewild, recalling as classmates joined the class through the years. Taking turns at the podium, the members of the class of 2016 spoke of their love for their teachers and the deep relationships formed during their time at Applewild, whether with their first buddies, their time in the Lower School in the Spring Musical or performing in the radio play and later class trips to Chewonki, AMC, and Washington, DC.

Erica Hager, Head of Upper School (grades 6, 7 8) took to the podium to announce the recipient of the C.T. Crocker Award. The Crocker Award is given to honor the student who best exemplifies the qualities of C.T. Crocker - loyalty, concern, generosity, warmth and leadership. It is awarded to the student who has given most of himself or herself to Applewild. This year's recipient is Elianna Rodriguez of Leominster. Elianna will attend Worcester Academy in the Fall.

Mrs. Stover then announced the winner of the William Laverack Award which honors the school's founding Head who established Applewild to be a place where high standards for academic achievement were coupled with, in his own words, “a climate of warmth and concern, and an opportunity to grow and learn in a community that obviously has a heart.” The award, which recognizes the 8th grader with the highest academic average, was presented to Neha Agarwal of Littleton. Neha will be attending Groton School in the Fall.

The 8th grade instrumentalists then performed Shake it Off (arranged by John Berry) - their last time performing and improvising on stage as Applewild musicians. 

Head of School, Christie Stover reflected on her first year at Applewild and the journey she undertook with “her” first graduating class. She thanked the class for teaching her so much about Applewild and the “Applewild” magic, and as she said to the class, “It is not the magic that comes from pulling a rabbit out of a hat; no – it is far more than that. It is when the ordinary becomes extraordinary, because in those moments of empathy, of compassion, of connection – and strength, perseverance and grace – you demonstrate all that is best of humanity.” Mrs. Stover continued, “As a class you have shown leadership on the fields, in the classroom, on the stage, and with your buddies (referring to the school's cross-grades buddy program).” Before calling up each student, she noted “Know that greeting you each morning was one of the best parts of each day.” Then, Mrs. Stover read a hand-picked quote for each student and offered a reflection as President of the Board of Trustees, Will Aubuchon '92, conferred the diplomas. Stopping for a quick photo with Mrs. Stover before sitting back down, the ceremony concluded as faculty and staff lined the recessional aisle of the Alumni Center for the Performing Arts while the graduation band played out the newest Applewild alumni to Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.

The graduation ceremony was the emotional conclusion to graduation week. Additional festivities during the week leading up to graduation included the traditional graduation dinner for the class. At dinner, Mrs. Stover presented each 8th grader with a copy of the book Believe (by Dan Zandra) in which members of the faculty had written personal notes to each student. After dinner, joined by the 7th graders, the students danced the evening away at the annual semi-formal dance.

The morning after the semi-formal, June 14th, grades 3 – 8 gathered to recognize students who were awarded for achievement in academics, the arts, athletics, and stewardship. Included during Recognition Day, was the passing of the student leadership of the school, of both the Upper and Lower (grades K – 5) Schools.

Finally, graduation week concluded with the new Applewild alumni gathering for picture taking followed by a luncheon honoring the graduates.

Congratulations and remember, you can always come home to Applewild!

Members of Applewild School's class of 2016 and their future schools

Neha Chandra Agarwal Groton School
Erin Irene Connor Bancroft School
Raymond Alan Cutler Lawrence Academy
(Gary) Shengqin Huang Vermont Academy
Amaia Elanor Ince Loomis Chaffee School
John Joseph Lessard Cushing Academy
(Dylan) Zitao Liu Fryeburg Academy
Emily Nicole O’Donnell Cushing Academy
Edward Kenney O’Hearn Cushing Academy
Olivia Antonelli Ray Groton-Dunstable Regional High School
Elianna Janee Rodriguez Worcester Academy
Maximillian Michael Strong Groton School
Nasih Abdul-Latif Thomas Fitchburg High School Honors Academy
Natasha Rose Ussrey Undecided
Daphne Ellen Wong Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
(David) Lesenmiao Yu Cambridge School of Weston
Alexander George Zornada Cushing Academy

All photos by Photography by Veronika Patty. Photos may be purchased at: http://photographybyveronikapatty.zenfolio.com/p5970809

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 Here's a little advice our 1st graders gave to their 8th grade buddies as they graduated.1st Grade book of advice to 8th grade buddies

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